tv Consider This Al Jazeera August 28, 2013 1:00am-2:01am EDT
jazeera.com. >> this is al jazeera, and i am morgan radford. here is a look at tonight's top stories. the obama administration says certain chemical weapons were, in fact, used in syria. it blamed the syrian government for the attack and has promised an intelligence report this week. the syrian government denies the accusations. >> we are all hearing the drums of war being beaten around us. if these countries are willing to launch an aggression or military act against syria, i believe the pretext of chemical weapons is false, baseless and groundless. and as i said, i challenge, i dare them to produce anything single piece of evidence. one of the largest wildfires california has ever seen moved
deeper into yosemite national park. and now it covers 280 square miles, at least 64 of which are inside the park. health officials in texas are now working to contain a me he wills outbreak. it's linked to a so-called mega church in the dallas area where at least 21 people have been sickened so far. the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the march on washington wednesday. in 1963, dr. martin luther king, jr. led a march to the lincoln memorial calling for civic rights for all americans. thank you so much for joining us. i am morgan radford.
>> consider this. how did a man who trained to be an opthalmologist in england turn into a tyrant? you heard you are what you eat what time does eating ever nor commonly genetically modified foods make us? do they pose real dangers, or are concerns overblown? a county clerk takes what he says is the current law into his own hands and joins the hands of those who want a marriage certificate regardless of their sexual preference? should one man be able to change the same-sex section marriage debate? good evening. welcome to "consider this." we begin with syria. as the obama administration weighs its options to intervene in syria's civil war after last week's chemical weapons attack, the white house repeated calls.
media uncovers unheard, fascinating news stories? >> they share it. >> social media isn't an afterthought. america. >> al-jazeera social america community online. >> this is your outlet for those conversations >> post, upload and interact. >> every night, share undiscovered stories. >> the stream, tomorrow night, you are consuming them. that's next on "consider this." consider this on an issue as far reaching as same-sex marriage, does the individual have the power to make major policy changes? last week one man in new mexico decided to begin issuing couples. >> we dropped everything and ran over here, that's why he only
has a tank top on. >> she came out to the kitchen and was like do you want to get married? and i was like funny, funny. >> by virtue of the authority vested in me by the state of new mexico i now pronounce you spouses for life. >> yesterday a state district judge declared same-sex marriage legal in new mexico, that ruling only applied to two additional counties, but today three more counties decided to issue same-sex marriage licenses, and so far hundreds of couples have obtained those licenses. here so discuss this is the man who started it all, the country clerk of the country. thank you very much for doing this for us. what made you decide to take this matter into your own hands? >> well, back in march there was
the filing of a lawsuit in albuquerque to force the county clerk down there to issue same-sex marriage licenses. there was another action started in santa fe county, but that was started at the supreme court. the supreme court was asked to take original jurisdiction. it refused to do so, all of the cases went back to the district court, and it appeared there would be months and months if not well over a year before this matter could finally reach the state supreme court. the attorney general filed a brief with the supreme court at its request to advise the court as to whether or not it should take original jurisdiction. the supreme court listened to the brief, and then -- and in the briefing the attorney general of the state said that in his opinion under our equal protection provision of the new mexico state constitution
that such laws prohibiting same-sex marriage were illegal. when i saw that and i saw that the case was back to the district court and then we're going to go through the normal litigation process of discovery, notions, i decided it was about time to move forward. i looked at the new mexico state constitution, and at the standard equal rights provision, and it has a very unique provision in addition. and that is a provision adopted by the people in 1972 that no individual shall be denied the equal protection of the laws on account of his or her sex. i swore an oath when i was sworn into office this january to uphold the laws of the state and the constitution of new mexico. when the statute conflicts with the constitution, i have no choice but to abide by the
authority. >> so you believe you were following -- >> so i made the decision to begin issuing these licenses. i have been accused of making new law. law. >> the judge in albuquerque agreed with you yesterday, and in effect his decision was a very brood-based legalization of gay marriage in two counties. because it is a district judge it only applies in those two counties, but do you think this will now extent throughout new mexico? >> yes. incidentally santa fe county also issued a similar court order to the county clerk on friday, since that time, four more counties i'm aware of have decided to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples without a court order, even the [ inaudible ] and santa fe orders do not apply stayed wide.
i believe within the next ten days this case will be up before the state supreme court. and i believe the state supreme done. >> the governor opposes same-sex marriage let's look at what she said since you began issuing marriage licenses last week. >> this isn't a political issue. it should not be decided by the legislators or the judges. it needs to be decided by the people of new mexico. >> what do you say to that? new mexico even though it has been a blue state recently, it seems that polls show more new mexicoia new mexicoians oppose gay marriage than support it. >> nobody voted on whether or not i could get married and i don't think anybody listening to this broadcast had somebody vote on whether they could get married. that is my response. >> do you think other countries
are going to follow your example over the next few days before a supreme court decision? >> i can't say. interestingly one of the republican counties has begun to issue same-sex marriages -- marriage licenses. i don't know how many more will. we're all going to get on a stayed-wide conference call tomorrow to discuss this. i know the county clerks are seeking uniformity in the issuance of these licenses. we'll see what happens, but again, i'm convinced that the case will be before the supreme court very shortly, and i'm convinced that the supreme court will find that the marriage statutes are unconstitutional clause. >> we'll keep following the story. thank you very much for joining us on "consider this." coming up you may think genetically modified foods are
talk about gmo's. they are often used in foods you'll see in the supermarkets. the use of the modified food have increased over the decades, so has the skepticism. corporations including hershey and monsanto spent more than $44 million to win the vote. the bill supporters raised about $7 million. prop 37 was defeated by a little less than 3% at the polls, and similar bills are propping up across the country. john entine is the executive direct of the genetic literacy council. and patty is in washington, d.c. i thank you both for joining us tonight.
patty let's start with you. 70% of food on supermarket shelves have some sort of gmo in them. given it is so common, why is there a reason to be concerned? >> we think this food is different. the crops are different, and just because it is in a large number of products, it is a manageable number of crops, and we could label them. we have a got of genetically modified corn, soy, sugar beats things like that, and people don't realize they are eating them. these crops are different. these companies that make them patent them and charge farmers more to grow the seeds, so then it's different enough that consumers have the right to know that they are in the product they are buying. >> if the industry isn't concerned about dangers, why are
they resisting the labeling of what is in the products? >> yeah, there's a lot of issues in play here. i do want touchdown score that every major international science organization in the united states, in europe, australia, china, france, germany, brazil, everywhere, has some up with statements saying that genetically modified foods are safe. as safe as conventional organic foods, and in many cases they are far more healthy than even organic foods. we have a whole new generation of have it tin enhanced products coming out. i think there is a bit of disingenuousness in the argument that there's a right to know. there's no interest by activists, anti-biotech organizations for a right to know. there are right to know labels. we would say that genetically
modified corn is modified to prevent micro toxins which we find in organic corn. that's a right to know. genetically modified golden ricin creasing beta carrotine which would save millions of lives. she wants to cut out choice. if we label we're not going to have any choice on these things, because scare organizations are trying to demonize perfectly safe products that the science community has already evaluated. >> the scientific literature overwhelmingly favorable to the gmos, and putting these labels on, might scare people? >> in terms of the science, much of the science especially in this country being used to
defending these crops is not independent, and comes from the companies that want to sell these craps into the marketplace. so it isn't offering consumers independent evaluation of safety. and he mentioned a lot of countries, there's some scientific authority that says it is fine. many of those countries do require labeling. over half of the states this year has a bill to require labeling, none of them mentioned skull and cross bones, and they would have required basic things like this contains genetically modified ingredients or things like that shall -- >> but isn't the argument if you put any kind of warning out there, the immediate reaction, i'm sure john was exaggerating, but the reaction is i shouldn't eat this was there is a warning on there.
>> i don't think disclosing an important fact about how the food is raised has to be a warning. we tell consumers the ingredients, the facts about nutrition. we -- our organization has fought for years to disclose what country food comes from. we think consumers if given these choice will make the right decision from them. withholding information is not providing consumers choice. it's asking them to make decisions without everything they need to know. >> john the use of gmos has greatly increased over the past decades. and opponents will say during that time there has been a rise in autism and allergies. how do we know that science in the long run won't link back to the problems.
>> first of all, she makes a claim that the research has been done by industry. it hasn't been going on very long, and that's what research organizations have based their judgments on. that's patently false. there has been about a thousand studies of gmos, about 350 are totally independent, but financed by industry, required by the government to make sure that the public does not pick up the cost. so about a third of the studies are industry-based studies. when you are talking about the national academy of sciences, the french academy of sciences, these organizations have no -- they are not dependin
monstno. >> there has not been a serious scientific study that has been published in a peer journal. >> we can bicker about this all night, but when our regulatory sees in this country decide to approve this, they are basing it on previous approvals, and that many of those are based on studies and information that come in from the company that wants to get this crop approved. and i think that most average consumers with a common sense approach don't think that's independent enough. we have seen the effects of that in the drug industry. we have the same problem with prescription drugs where the studies are coming in doan by folks who want to sell something, and we don't have the ability to track negative health effects because we don't tell people what they are eating. so when we talk to fda and they talk about if there is a problem we would figure it outpost market.
we can't do that because we don't label the foods. >> all right. producer. >> john referring to what you might say is the general public's negative misconception of gmo's tech know geek asks do you see this being part of a larger problem with science journalism or something that is unique to gmos. >> i think groups like food and water watch, these are anti-technology companies, they are fearful of innovation. all chemicals are bad. pesticides are bad. we have a green revolution that started in the 50s. the reason we have the green revolution is because of genetic modification that has occurred. these organizations really want to stop technology, and the saddest situation -- we have an example that happened just a few
weeks ago in the philippines, where vandals really desecrated, vandalized rice problems of golden rice that producer beta carotene that would save about a million lives a year, and it was destroyed by these vandals and supported by green peace and organizations like center for food safety and others who want to stop the technology, because if this technology is actually released, when this is approved, it is going to be a death blow to the carping by these groups that these gmo's are unsafe. they have an anti science, anti-technology, anti-innovation, kind of a right-wing view -- >> patty aren't there lots of benefits to gmo's especially to people in poorer countries.
>> we have yet to see that happen. the u.s. is the bigger adopter of these kropt -- crops and what we have seen is an increase in herbicide use. the herbicides they were packaged to grow with, specific round up the weeds are starting to resist round up, so now we're escalating, and we're not seeing the yield increases that were promised. so we have a lot of marketing and pr, and not a lot of actual proof that this will do the things that the proponents claim, and there's a reason that small family farmers around the world protest these crops. they do not want to farm in the model that is being promoted by this technology. there are farmers around the world who don't want to get caught in that same cycle. this.
>> go ahead john. >> gmo crops started -- was introduced by corporations 15, 20 years ago. as of 2012, 90% of the farmers that use this are in the developing world. more than half of the crops being grown are in the developing world. farmers are not about to choose growing a crop that yields them less money, that is a bad crop that forces them into a system that somehow enslaves them. the very growth of this in the developing world really makes it clear that what she is saying is just pure hocum. look at the september issue of [ inaudible ] it has a very interesting article on why they oppose mandatory labeling. and the reason they oppose it is because it's an unscientific view. it has increased yields as much
as 25%. if we ban gmos it's going to cost hundreds of dollars a year. and this idea that somehow labeling it a somebody choice. they labeled in europe, and there is no choice. gmos have been taken off of the shelves. they know a labeling initiative will scare consumers and food companies who don't want to be sued by groups that this woman represents will not put these foods on the shelf. >> if gmo's are so good for us, if all of us are eating them every day why to polls show that most americans are still concerned about them. a poll showed that third-quarters of american were concerned, and 93% support labeling. knowledge? >> i think there's lots of
things. 67% of the american population doesn't believe in evolution. i mean we have a really big lead eyed factor in the united states. how many people don't believe in climate change? we have human induced climate change, but a fair majority of the population doesn't believe it. so i don't think science is open to polls. i think we got to stick to what independent groups -- not even regulatory groups, the american academy for the advancement of science, the german groups, the french groups, the brazilian groups, every major organization says we have evaluated this. there are hundreds of independent studies. it's safe, and they have all come out against labeling, because they know that labels will in some way scare people and -- and lead to the kind of disinformation campaigns. these people are perfectly willing to hype and scare people and create fear and a sense that
the science is somehow undecided. if you don't believe in the national academy of sciences and the american medical association, and the world health organization, then you are anti-science. >> patty i have got to give you the last word. please go ahead. >> there's so much there. i'm not sure where to start. we are not anti-science. we think the science has been politicized in this case, and there are thousands of examples where that happens. ranging as far as people saying smoking is good for you for so many years. when it comes down to the food industry it is fascinating that i think it's one of the few industries that regular loi calls its customers stupid. they are happy to put labels on our food to say it is new and improved and will make our lives better, but they are not willing to tell us this basic fact about how it was produced.
in tonight's data dive, some surprising benefits to being a good samaritan. the golden rule can make you feel golden. volunteers were less depressed and more satisfied with their lives. the findings some from a medical school in england. good thing for us, because 27% of americans volunteer their free time. european lag behind with about 22.5% donating time. but australians are the most giving at 36%. it's important to find the kind of volunteering takes you happy. if their work isn't appreciated, it can have the opposite effect. back on the right side, all of this data comes on the heels of a carnegie-mellon study found
that adults who volunteeral least 51 hours a year drop their high blood measure by 40%. but if you really want to get healthy, get a dog. a trial followed 369 people with cardiovascular disease, after a year, people who had a dog were four times more likely to live than those who didn't. i should note that cats did not improve the rates of survival. please cat owners don't get mad at me for that.
wednesday tens of thousands of people will gather at the lincoln memorial to commemorate the 50th an verse of martin luther king jr's march on washington. it wasn't until may of that year when brutal police beatings, vicious dogs and fire hosing being turned on african-americans in birmingham, alabama brought
about the march. joining me from washington, d.c. to discuss this is sierra tailor. and here in the studio, brittany cooper, contributor for salon.com. and director at rutgers university. thank you both for being here. the events surrounding wednesday's big celebration started a few days ago. and you said you weren't that impressed with what was going on funeral. >> yes, i found it to be uninspired and anti-climatic. you compare it to what happened on saturday, there was not even that much coverage on television, let alone a lot of conversation about it. so i'm not sure it captured the spirit of where we are as a nation. >> your organization has been very involved in the celebrations.
you have a different view of the march. what does it mean to you? >> i have to say on many accounts i have to agree with dr. cooper, but we were fortunate enough to participate in a series of events called we got next, which was a youth-based events during the weekend. you know, we lead a march on alec, the american legislative exchange council, we also had several different panels where we had intergenerational dialogue between people ages 18 to 35, what we called the youth to snik legends like bob moses carolina. >> so you see the events as being inspiring, and what positive effect do you hope will come out of it? >> i think the -- i think that what -- what was really coming out of it is that we were able
to sort of commemorate and remember martin luther king jr's dream, and be able to do so with people across the country that we wouldn't normally have the opportunity to speak with, but i think a lot of people in speaking this past weekend have really started to organize a strategy around where we need to move going forward. so i think we're looking forward to action and specific freedom summer. the 50th anniversary of freedom corner. >> brittany what do you think dr. king would think today watching these celebrations? >> i think he would be honored but he would be pushing us to move forward. i think he would be disheart eped at the increased militarization in the country, and i think he would be pushing us to have a broader moral vision and be courageous in
terms of where we go from here. >> what do you think he would look when you look at a poll where 32% of african-americans don't think things are better since that speech. i was a child back then, and i remember the kind of discrimination that was present in almost every aspect of life living in suburban washington, d.c. things have changed a lot, don't you think? >> we have an african american president and african american attorney general, but when you talk about what is happening in people's lives, they have lost half of their net worth -- >> but everybody has lost -- >> but no other demographic has lost as much. >> the dropout rate in high school is much loweren than it
was back then. >> sure, but we're seeing the kinds of policies in philadelphia, detroit, and chicago, that are gutting those urban areas, and at the end of king's life, he was talking about what was happening in urban areas like chicago, so i think he would be asking us to turn our attention back to those places, and figure out how to create life chances for folks come that is sustainable. >> brittany don says we have to teach more than the sanitized civil rights. how do we connect it to the king? >> i think she is absolutely right. in 68 when king got killed there was a more robust movement that was talking about capitalism, i had a friend email me to say
that when she went to the march this weekend there was not a lot of accessibility for folks in wheelchairs. >> sierra dream defenders uses traditional situations to get your point across. you staged a month-long sit-in in florida for the governor's office. do you think following dr. king's for-september for-septembers -- for-cept are still the way to go? >> absolutely. things haven't changed. we haven't really won on the issues, and i think that's because, you know, jim crow, as people say, you know, it has only got more sophisticated,
it's james earlco esquire the second. you know? it's a sophisticated racial undertones that effect us in every aspect of life. we were at the capitol to talk about the overall criminalization of our youth. the school to prison pipeline that is taking millions of children out of the classroom and into juvenile detention cells or adult prisons having eight years in polk county in adults. >> to that point, there are so many problems within the african american community, so many men in jail, so many children, the majority born out of wedlock, do you see a march like this as something that will help the community? i know you are skeptical, but will it help? >> i think marches are an outdated strategy. folks have limited political
energy and limited economic resources. what might have happened if we said let's have a series of local commemorations throughout the country so we think about how to sustain families, so that we think about how to create jobs and educational opportunities for african american men so they are not falling victim to the school to prison pipeline. >> brittany and sierra thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> the show may be over but the conversation continues on our website, aljazeera.com/considerthis, or on our facebook or google plus pages. we hope you have a great night. we'll see you tomorrow. ♪
>> the stories we're following at this hour. awaiting the presidential go ahead. the u.s. military is ready to strike in syria over the use of chemical weapons. california's 11-day-old wildfire now has burn 60 square miles inside yosemite park. >> free at last. free at last. thank god almighty we're free at last. >> reporter: 50 years later a grand celebration of the most famous civil rights speech ever delivered by martin luther king.